The City of New Orleans is ramping up its healthcare capabilities to accommodate surge capacity, as needed. Governor John Bel Edwards has identified the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (ENMCC) as the best option for a Medical Monitoring Station (MMS).
Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the Governor’s decision to prepare the ENMCC for temporary usage as an MMS and the operation of the ENMCC in its use during this time:
Our city and region are focused on ramping up our healthcare capabilities, and it has been deemed that the ENMCC is the best option for potential surge capacity. As an MMS, healthcare professionals will provide control and care for those patients who are recovering, as needed. Establishing this MMS will free up hospital beds for more severely impacted patients. Other facilities are also being considered for increasing hospital bed capacity, including the VA facility.
No testing resources are available within the Convention Center.
Patients who are recovering from COVID-19 and no longer need critical care services will be transferred directly to the Center for medical monitoring. They will be monitored on site until they are discharged. Walk-up patients and visitors will not be permitted.
The New Orleans region is currently projected to reach hospital capacity by the second week of April. Therefore, surge capacity will be built up before that threshold to be safe. This ensures that any critical care & ICU beds will be available within area hospitals, if and when they are needed. The capacity of the MMS will be 2,000 beds.
Upon completion of the Center’s use in this capacity, a complete restoration and remediation will occur to bring the Center back to normal use. Protocols are already in place to minimize any remediation necessary. Following occupancy and remediation by the MMS team, the Convention Center has enlisted a secondary team to also provide additional remediation measures.
Currently use of the ENMCC as an MMS and remediation is scheduled to take 60 days, finishing on June 1.
The MMS will utilize Exhibit Halls only, starting at the Henderson Street end of the facility with Hall I. As the need for more beds and space increases, additional halls will be added in the direction of Julia Street, ending with Hall B. There will be no access to lobbies, or upper floors. All movement will happen via back dock access. Entry to the facility will be limited to doors with direct access to the halls.
The time to disinfect the space is included in the 60 days. The ENMCC is engaging its own remediation team to follow the MMS team for additional remediation in accordance with CDC and DHH to be completed by June 4. Provided the MMS moves out earlier than anticipated, this date will be moved up accordingly.
Prior to use as an MMS, ENMCC staff had already placed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the Center, increased cleaning frequency for commonly contacted surfaces, and increased staff handwashing mandates. The ENMCC team also positioned signage throughout the facility detailing further precautions to take in addition to our current measures.
With the exception of a small inventory of meeting room equipment being used for a press briefing area outside of the exhibit halls, no ENMCC equipment is being used within the MMS. In the event ENMCC equipment is used, it will not be re-incorporated into facility inventory.
No, all Centerplate equipment is secured at this time and not being used in the support of the MMS.
The $557 million improvement plans remain underway and have been unaffected by the virus. Construction projects are being closely monitored at this time to determine what if any impacts the use of the ENMCC as an MMS or the State or Local mandates will have on execution timelines. The top priority is containment of the virus and public health.